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Premier Guitar’s Shawn Hammond visits the Schecter Custom Shop in Sun Valley, California, to go behind the scenes on how this team of skilled builders and passionate players creates the Schecter USA and Masterworks guitar lines. We go in depth on everything from how the company carefully reproduces pickups from its early years to how CNC machines are painstakingly programmed for different wood types and how one-on-one time with a veteran setup master puts the final touch on each instrument.
In this first segment in our four-part series, Schecter president Michael Ciravolo shows us memorabilia from the company’s early history as a custom shop for players like the Who’s Pete Townshend, Prince, and Andy Taylor. Then he takes us into the custom shop itself, where we talk about wood selection and options.
In the second portion of our four-part series, we have a fascinating conversation on the ins and outs of how Schecter master builder John Gadesi’s has programmed the company’s CNC machines to begin the instrument-building process with exceptionally consistent and playable bodies and necks—thus earning him the alias “friend of the robots.” We also get to see the cute little wooden cows that Gadesi’s kids made at the shop while waiting for dad to finish making cool axes.
In this third segment in our four-part series, we get a close-up look at how specialized craftspeople in the Schecter custom shop create intricate fretboard inlays and carefully install frets, watch as a finish expert applies a beautiful tobacco sunburst paint job, and observe the back-breaking, muscle-thrashing job of buffing finishes to a lustrous sheen.
In the final portion of our four-part Schecter custom shop tour, we go inside the Masterworks portion of the shop, where master builder Tetsu Yayuma—who’s been with Schecter since 1984—is so hardcore about traditional luthiery that he looks upon the company’s CNC “robots” with disdain. In Yayuma’s corner, we check out gorgeously figured and meticulously bound necks, watch as he cuts a Masterworks body by hand, and geek out over the incredibly intricate cardboard bodies he sends out for clients to approve when they’ve ordered a custom body shape. We also see the pickup-making process and watch as final setup artist Shigeki Aoshima puts the human touch on each precision-made Schecter.